Wk 5- Artist Conversation- Josha Tomokazu Thomen

The artist I got to interview with a couple other students, for this week was Joshua Tomokazu Thomen. Before I get into the details of what I learned from Joshua’s character or his art, I’ll discuss my experience and reaction to his exhibition “STILL HERE.” So, I was looking for some interesting art for this week, when I looked towards the W. Dutzi gallery I seen a note on the door saying to come in. Which struck me a bit but I entered anyways even if the room looked pitched black. Entering the dark room, the audience hears a couple of soft toned bells. After you have entered the room, you can see his art pieces lined up on the floor. The darkness and the bells adds to his art; you’ll see why if you continue reading.  (see a photo of the note on the door below)

Joshua is from a Japanese descent and lives in Pasadena California at the moment. He is a junior at CSULB and enjoys eating, Thai or Japanese foods are his favorite. He stated that he was always interested in art even when he was younger; he got into sculpturing his freshmen year of college. He also has applied for the sculpturing program at CSULB, he hopes in receiving his BFA.

This was his first exhibition in any gallery; in my opinion he did great. The art pieces he had lined up on the floor were porcelain figures that were in a block of cement. The only part of the figures the audience can see is the front. He says that he got all of the porcelain cartoon animal figures in different antique stores/thrift stores. The first thought that came in my mind was that the figures represented humans, others students told him that the formation of his art remind them of a graveyard. He replied by saying that the idea of a graveyard never had came to his mind. The only thing that had came to his mind was the word “stuck” and being frustrated.

“I stumbled on these ceramic figurines and felt connected to their cute and kitschy nature. They are excessively sentimental, innocent, and domestic. Embedded into the concrete, I identified with their entrapment in the material, which seemed parallel to the way I feel about this moment in America. I wanted to transform these apolitical objects into my own way of processing politics.” was the paragraph he had inside his gallery. So my thought of the figurines representing people was correct. If I’m not wrong, I assume he is referring to Donald Trump arrival at the white house. The words stuck, frustrated, and trapped are the same ways I feel at the moment with politics. Being half Mexican, I’m basically the figurines embedded in the cement.


Exhibition Information

Artist: Joshua Tomokazu Thomen

Exhibition: STILL HERE

Media: figurines, cement, politics, bells, sculptures

Gallery: Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery

Instagram: @voyezmessouvenirs


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